So you’ve probably seen something about Movember either on Facebook, Twitter, maybe on the news, etc. Basically it’s an organization committed to men’s health issues, including prostate & testicular cancer and mental illness. They raise funds primarily through a November fundraiser encouraging men to grow moustaches, the idea being that it will prompt questions from friends, business associates, etc. along the lines of “Are you growing a moustache?” Those questions are the starting point for talking about men’s health (and to ask for financial support for the cause).
Because of my issues with depression and anxiety I’ve decided to participate in this year’s Movember event and fundraiser.
I shaved on the evening of October 31st and I’ll be shaving everything but my moustache until December (see the photo of me this morning). I don’t know how well I’ll be able to pull off this look (I’ll probably look a little like a rat at some point during this) and I’m certainly no Tom Selleck (King of Moustaches). So while I’m slightly apprehensive about how I’ll look, all the better to start conversations, right?
After all, this is about mental health and awareness. It can be hard, I think, for men to admit that they have issues with anxiety or depression- we’re often told to “man up” and “get over it.” Or we like to bury the issues in euphemism, talking about how someone is fighting some inner demons. The cult of masculinity tells men that depression, anxiety, addiction, etc. are signs of weakness. Dealing with these issues can be hard enough without adding additional worries about yourself as a person and your strength.
Real strength is facing your health issues (which is what they are- not a character flaw). Sometimes being a man isn’t about embodying the myth of the Gary Cooper strong/silent type. Sometimes being a man is saying “I’m sick and I want to get better.”
That’s why I’m participating in Movember. To tell people “I’m sick, but I’m getting better. And I’m getting better because I asked for and received help. It’s important that all of us feel okay asking for help but just as important is that all of us make those asking for help feel like they’ll receive the support they need.”
If you’d like to support Movember you can make a donation at my fundraising page. I’ll try and post progress pictures ever few days. Thank you!